Bud Powell: Sweet Georgia Brown


Sweet Georgia Brown


Bud Powell (piano)


The Best of Bud Powell on Verve (Verve 314 523 392-20)

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Bud Powell (piano), Curly Russell (bass), Max Roach (drums).

Recorded: New York, February 1950


Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

Twenty-five years old when this recording was made, Bud Powell was already a tragic figure, marked by his institutionalization and electroshock therapy at Creedmore, his unstable psyche, and incipient alcoholism. But his piano playing was still at top form, and the young Powell was rightly lionized as a paragon of the bebop idiom. In the hands of other musicians, “Sweet Georgia Brown” is a lighthearted gal, amiable and jaunty. But this “Georgia Brown” has lost her sweetness, and is trying to elude a relentless demon in pursuit. Powell rushes toward the finish line, and the headlong passion of this performance is almost frightening in its intensity.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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